Chapter 16: Enoch (2)
Rumors of their imperial princess following the tails of her fiancé like a duckling spread through the nobility, but Aran did not care. She was entering her stage youthfulness. She had no care for the rumors as her mind was full of Enoch.
Enoch, on the other hand, was somewhat bashful and shy by the princess’ overly active tendencies. He, who was sixteen years of age and was almost as tall as an adult, treated Aran as his sister, the princess whose height barely reached his chest.
The emperor resented the sight of his daughter being overly fond of Enoch. She began growing indifferent to him. Each time there was an argument involving Enoch, his daughter sided with him and the emperor had no choice but to swallow his bitter disapproval inwardly.
Unfortunately, Aran was unable to see Enoch often. She had a weak constitution and sickness always plagued her weak body. Especially during the winter months, Aran would suffer from severe cold and thus the emperor had to limit her and Enoch’s meeting to once a month.
“I miss Enoch,” Aran mumbled.
“Get well soon. Isn’t that the only way you’ll see him more often?” the Empress said.
“Why was I born weak? Why can’t I be strong and healthy like the others?” Aran voiced her thoughts loudly.
The immature and young Aran did not know that her words broke the empress’ heart. Looking at her daughter with pitiful eyes, she secretly invited Enoch to the palace.
Enoch, after journeying to the palace for several days, nodded upon hearing that his fianceé was afflicted with sickness. The empress’ face turned ashen cold at the sight of the boy whose face remained unchanged even when hearing that Aran, his fiancée, was sick.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“This is probably troublesome for you. That the Empress called your presence in the palace probably irritated you. If that is so, how immature of you.”
The empress did not miss a moment to voice her thoughts. Enoch was mature for his age, but he was still a boy, and a boy could not hide all his thoughts.
“Since she was a child, my daughter was always at death’s door. The Emperor and I never scolded her despite her faults. After all, it’s our fault that Aran was born like this…” the Empress said with bitter voice and looked at Enoch’s eyes, “Though I may not look like it, I see my daughter as something so dearly precious that not even all the riches of the world could be traded. Enoch, I want you to be kind to her, even if it’s a little bit. I won’t forgive anyone who hurts my daughter.”
The Empress’ voice was soft but it was tinged with warnings.
Enoch nodded. “I understand, Your Majesty.”
At that, a kind smile appeared on the Empress’ lips. She looked like a gentle and loving mother.
Enoch and the empress knocked on the imperial room before entering.
“Aran, I have a present,” the empress said gently.
“If it’s medicine, I don’t want it,” Aran buried her head in the pillow.
“Don’t be like that. You’ll change your mind once you know who your mother brought. Come on, get up.”
At the empress’ words, Aran looked up reluctantly. Her eyes bulged immediately at the sight of Enoch standing before her.
Enoch looked at her silently.
Aran screamed inwardly and immediately covered herself with a blanket.
‘Wh-why is he…’
It was Enoch, the boy she dreamed of. He’s here. But… no… she didn’t want him to see her like this. She was sick and she couldn’t wash herself properly, let alone dress up. And… what’s more… the clothes she wore where childishly patterned pajamas suitable only for children.
Enoch, on the other hand, was dressed in perfect gentleman-like clothes from head to toe.
It was the first time she heard her mother’s voice sounding somewhat strict.
“Then… wait… could you come back in a minute? I… I need to change my clothes…”
The empress immediately noticed Aran’s heart and thoughts. She covered her mouth with raised lips. She never thought her daughter would grow embarrassed at the sight of the opposite sex looking at her with childish clothing.
It was amusing.
The empress looked at Enoch. “Then Enoch…”
“It’s okay, Your Majesty. Her Highness is always lovely. She should continue wearing comfortable clothes if she’s not feeling well,” Enoch said as he approached Aran’s bed.
If Aran had been a little less flushed with embarrassment, she’d realize that those words held no truth, but she was unable to judge from false to truth with fever afflicting her.
She poked her head out of the blanket and asked, “Really?”
Enoch nodded. “Yes.”
The empress noticed his white lie but said nothing. Regardless of Enoch’s sincerity, it was fine as long as her daughter was happy. After all, happy times often never lasts.